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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

L AU GHING    TORSO

Roger Fry came and joined us if he was alone, in
fact everyone in the street generally visited each
other on these occasions.   We eventually got bored
with sitting in the cellar and laid in a stock of wine
for air-raid nights, and sat on the roof instead and
watched the bombs dropping.   The nearest escape
from death, with the exception of the Clifford's Inn
experience that I had, was when I was in a studio
near the Eiffel Tower Restaurant with three young
men, one of whom was half German and the other
two naturalized Germans.    They were playing in
turn German music when we heard the whistles
blowing for the alarm.   They did not stop playing
as we heard the bombs drop.   Each one that dropped
got nearer and nearer.   Finally we heard a terrific
whizzing noise, that sounded as if it were just over
the roof, and then a crash quite near.   The Germans
had   started   throwing   bombs   the   other   side   of
Hampstead and had dropped one at almost regular
intervals till they got to the West End.    The last
one dropped near Portland Street, on a hostel that
the girls from some large shop lived in, but they had
all gone away for a holiday.   If it had dropped in a
straight line as the others did, it would have been
very near us.    On another occasion I was at the
Eiffel Tower with three young men.   Mark Gertler
and Geoffrey Nelson were two of them, and we were
sitting near the large windows looking on to the
street.    We  were   amusing  ourselves  by playing
"consequences."   We heard the whistles blowing
and then a loud crash.    The bomb dropped out-
side Bourne and Hollingsworth's, which was not
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